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Skating Life: My Story

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  284 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
The dazzling smile, the signature haircut, the staple spin. "America's Sweetheart" Dorothy Hamill grew up on the ice, working toward the dream she was to accomplish by age nineteen: winning Olympic gold in figure skating. But life was not the picture of perfection it appeared to be. Dorothy faced a painful inner struggle from the time she was a young girl that followed her ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 2nd 2007 by Hachette Books (first published 2007)
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Jan 10, 2009 Bev rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Well, lucky me, I had the privilege of teaching Dorothy's daughter several years ago, and I can honestly say Dorothy is every bit as kind and sweet as she appears in the public eye. I like the frankness of this book, particularly her account of her struggles with depression. It's clear that depression runs in her family, a burden that is much more of a challenge than most people think. Knowing this, her achievements are that much more impressive. This is someone who has been famous world-wide si ...more
Dec 04, 2013 Linda rated it liked it
Make this a 3.5, I'm no nasty East German judge of the likes that Dorothy Hamill dealt with back in the days of competitive skating when figures were still part of the discipline (I think they should be today to a certain extent, I think the figures led to better basic skating that could be embellished on with jumps later).

Dorothy Hamill is one of the people who after you read the book, you still would like to know her. She wasn't a rich kid, her family struggled with very little help to get her
Mandy Huot
May 07, 2013 Mandy Huot rated it it was amazing
Contrary to what other commenters stated, i found this book very powerful and a really good read. People need to realize that each person is different when it comes to putting things into words. While it may have come out as a "I hate my parents" type of book, in reality, Dorothy was just voicing her own personal feelings...and if you read it all the way to the end, you would see that she did eventually reconcile and build a positive relationship with her mother. Depression is a very hard thing ...more
Zina Benjelloun
Oct 21, 2014 Zina Benjelloun rated it really liked it
Dorothy wrote her parents letters begging them to allow her to get her ears pierced. Jeannie Fortune was a skater too as well as Dorothy's friend. Her family ran the Chicken Coop restaurant and Dorothy loved to go eat there. One time, Dorothy and her other friends took a rowboat and ran it to the middle of the lake but then one of the moms got mad because she was scared that something would happen to them. On Sundays, when the rink was closed, they would go to the beach during the day and to the ...more
Jul 15, 2010 Surreysmum rated it liked it
This was a quick, easy read, but not necessarily a quick or easy life to lead. Dorothy, at over 50 now, has quite a bit of insight into her family's dynamics, and that, perhaps unsurprisingly, is what she focuses on in her tale, most particularly her evolving relationship with her mother. I felt considerable empathy with her journey from feeling never good enough and always criticized towards understanding and appreciating exactly how much her mother gave her, especially in the obsessed teenage ...more
This was so poorly written. Dorothy came off horribly in a way she would not have if only for a better writer.
Statements are written doubly if not more and I kept thinking 'You just said that!'
Paragraphs go off into tangents that don't fit correctly.
There is a lot of childish woe-is-me. State the fact or experience and let the reader insert the emotion. Yes, a biography could share the accompanying emotions, but please don't waffle and whine like a self-centered teenager as your complete stor
Victoria Sigsworth
Apr 19, 2014 Victoria Sigsworth rated it it was amazing
From the very beginning I loved this book. Can't understand why some of the reviews are so negative. Not sure if you'd enjoy it so much if you didn't know so much about ice skating but you may find the behind the scenes interesting. I enjoyed it because she spoke about so many names I recognised. It was lovely to read that she knew John Curry so well and had nothing but praise for him. Having read other books that crucify him, this really made me feel happy as he's one of my sporting heroes. It ...more
Aug 14, 2012 Valerie rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography

This book was about skating, but so much more. I've always admired Dorothy Hamill as a skater, but now I admire her as a person. She did a good job of explaining the nuances of the sport in a way that seemed approachable for those with little to no skating knowledge, but wasn't too elementary for skating fans. A working knowledge of US skaters from the 60s to the 80s is helpful, otherwise there are a lot of people referenced without a lot of backstory.

But the book is about so much more than sk
Oct 02, 2007 MCSZ rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
I remember Dorothy Hammill winning the Olympic gold medal when I was a little girl ~ but I know very little about her other than her trademark spins and haircut. So I thought I would edumacate myself!

The book was an interesting look into the world of competitive ice skating, but the writing style was very linear and dry: first this happened, then this happened, then that happened. The misfortunes she encounters as an adult really do seem to be of her own doing: Hammill is much to eager to please
Jan 01, 2012 Suzyberry rated it really liked it
We all remember the little girl, skating like an angel at the Olympics...and that haircut! Life was perfect then and life was not so perfect as Dorothy grew it is for so many who suddenly find themselves thrust into celebrity. This is a well-written, honest story of the real Dorothy...years past the skating little girl. I have always admired Dorothy, seeing her as a very sincere, deep-spirited individual who trusted deeply in those who came into her life and consequently, not always trus ...more
Mary Greer
I found this book while watching the Winter Olympics. I wanted to know more about Dorothy Hamill. I enjoyed reading it, even though it is a little to narrative for me. At times it feels as if she is just venting. In fact, I think the tone of her book feels as if she wants to get something off her back. Her relationship with her mother is complicated and much of the focus of her story is trying to figure out why her Mom didn't come to the arena to see her skate for the gold medal.

I had no idea sh
Carol Wakefield
Oct 19, 2012 Carol Wakefield rated it it was ok
I blame Hamil's co author, ms amelon for this poorly written dreary review of Hamil's life. It might better be titled me and mom, the story of a dysfunctional relationship. Who knew the pretty skater with the great haircut had such a series of bad experiences with personal relationships.. Apparently a family history of depression contributed to Hamil's series of difficulties with the mother who made her skating possible but who was generally a negative presence. And then on to two very unfortuna ...more
Heather G Gentle
Aug 07, 2010 Heather G Gentle rated it liked it
I'm not normally a biography reading sort but getting into ice skating as an adult I've recently been reading bit articles about various skaters. I saw this book advertised in one of them and decided to give it a try.
I think most people... definitely including myself... tend to put famous folks on a pedestal and forget they have a background too... it was nice to bring it back down to earth and see a bit how Dorothy became who she is today. Not the best writing but an insight into a pretty inte
Anne Marie
Jun 19, 2015 Anne Marie rated it liked it
This book was about Dorothy Hamill from her early years until the book was published in 2007. We got to know what it was like in the 60's and 70's for a girl who was passionate about skating, but had to deal with a mother who was suffering with depression and making sure her daughter lived her dream to the fullest. After her Olympic gold, Dorothy married twice, had a daughter, was in numerous skating shows all over the country and on television, and realized how her mother made so many sacrifice ...more
Apr 01, 2012 Becky rated it liked it
my 2 year old son picked this off a table display for "women's history month" at the library as i was checking out. so i decided to humor him and get it. i'm about halfway through it and it's interesting. i didn't know much about dorothy hamill, so i've learned a lot about her as well as how skating has evolved over the past 50 years in the u.s. i'm already past the part where she won a gold medal, so i'm interested to find out what the rest of the book covers.
Dec 10, 2011 Virginia rated it really liked it
Shelves: rwr
This book is an autobiography about Dorothy Hamill the famous figure skater. It was very interesting to read about Dorothy 's life and see how different or similar it is to mine. Being a figure skater I don't know how the reading experience will be for people who don't skate, but even though this is not my typical book (Harry Potter, Hunger Games, etc.) I really enjoyed it. The book was also very inspirational.
Very Interesting yet rather depressing to read since she focuses a lot on her parental issues, $$ problems and her failed marriages. But it's a great look at skating and our past culture. She explains some aspects of past figure skating issues/judging and why it was so hard for USA figure skaters to compete against "super" powers.
Feb 27, 2008 Karen rated it liked it
Who knew Dorothy Hamill endured so much to get her gold medal? I always thought she was a privileged Greenwich child, not a scholarship girl without proper costumes and saddled with chronically depressed parents who struggled to make ends meet. But the thing that bowled me over was the picture of her on the front cover - wow, she's gorgeous at 50!
Sep 09, 2011 Gwen rated it it was ok
I am really into easy autobiographies right now--it's all I have the mental energy for and the time to complete before the book is due at the library. This was perfect for those requirements. Poor Dorothy has not been lucky in love, nor did she have a great relationship with her parents. I didn't know any of that.
Jul 09, 2008 Lennie rated it really liked it
Dorothy Hamill was one of my childhood heros and it was interesting to read that despite winning a gold medal in the Olympics, her life had struggles like anyone else. I thought her memoir was good and I appreciated the fact that she was honest in telling about her marriage, financial, and health problems.
Mar 12, 2013 Carol rated it liked it
It was an interesting look into the lives of the skaters we know and love.
Most surprising to me what how surprised Dorothy was at the events in her life.
I didn't particularly like the tone of the book--though I read every page and would recommend it to other fans of figure skating and the personalities of those we've come to feel like we know.
Feb 20, 2016 Tricia rated it liked it
Shelves: attempted, biography
I tried to like this book, but 1/3 in I decided I was done. Her relationship with her mom seemed to command more of the story than skating and it was so disheartening. Hopefully the end is better, but I need something more uplifting.
Jan 16, 2010 Belinda rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, src-finished
This book was much better than I expected. It was very well written and a very quick read. I knew some of Hamill's story, the divorces and the death of her ex-husband, but I had no idea how hard her family life had been. The book was very honest without being too gloomy.
May 07, 2012 Joanne rated it really liked it
As a big fan of Dorothy as a kid (I even had the haircut), I was interested in hearing her life story. This book did not disappoint. She tells of how she got into skating, her relationship with her mother, the Ice Capades and her marriages. Well done.
Nov 20, 2010 Emma rated it really liked it
You can't help but fall in love with a hardworking skater like Dorothy Hamill. The book lets you feel like you are with her every moment in her life. Inspiring story if you can relate to the struggles of life she went through. Heartwarming story but not the best style of writing.
Nov 06, 2011 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating! I never really knew much about her (except for her famous haircut) but I love reading biographies of professional athletes. And then I youtubed some of her skating when I finished the book. Hah!
Nov 24, 2010 Jacqueline115 rated it it was amazing
Dorothy was my childhood heroine while growing up skating and taking lessons. Dorothy gives an inside look of this demanding sport and the sacrifices that she and her parents made. Her relationship with her mom is something I will never understand.
Aug 08, 2008 Traci rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club
Though I am not really interested in Dorothy Hamill or figure skating, this was still an interesting look at her life and especially her childhood, which I imagine mirrors the childhood of a lot of people who compete at an Olympic level at a young age.
Jan 19, 2014 Lance rated it liked it
Shelves: sports, blog
Actually three and a half stars. Much more about her personal life than her skating. Full review can be seen at
Paulette Odette
Oct 26, 2011 Paulette Odette rated it really liked it
An interesting view of the skating world from someone who has been in figure skating all of her life. Good read for people that have experience any figure skating in their lives.
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